This is my rough draft of my ps. I think its pretty technically sound, but doesnt inspire any real emotion yet. I'm not quite sure what I can do to fix this... Any feedback or constructive criticism would be GREATLY appreciated.
The first paragraph of the AmeriCorps pledge states “I will get things done for America - to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.” During my 12 month tenure at (NPO), where I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer, I had ample opportunity to turn these words into action, to make good on my AmeriCorps pledge, and to get a glimpse of where my developing commitment to personal and community advocacy for those in need might take me.
The mission of (NPO) is “to create Hope, Opportunity and Choice, with work as the means through which people with disabilities and other barriers to employment can more fully participate in the mainstream of life”. It was with this same motivation that I chose to participate in an AmeriCorps program after I graduated last year that provided free financial services for the disabled and low-income community in Denver. I had just received my degree in Economics and I was ecstatic when I found out about the program because it seemed like the perfect opportunity to utilize my knowledge of finance, economics, and community development to help others. My responsibilities included screening and financially counseling recipients of an emergency zero-interest small loan program for (NPO) employees and clients, developing and implementing a financial literacy curriculum, and teaching weekly financial literacy classes for disabled and low-income adults. I also managed a team of AmeriCorps members and volunteers as an IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Site Coordinator.
One of the first clients I worked with was Gloria, a woman in her mid-40’s who had recently been laid off. Her job search was complicated by the fact that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of domestic violence and she was now homeless for the first time in her life because her unemployment benefits had just expired. As I talked with her, what I noticed was that in addition to her numerous financial challenges, Gloria also lacked the ability to advocate for herself. She did not have the personal or economic resources to lift herself out of the depression and despair that dominated her life. I began to see that the short term loan we gave her offered only a temporary solution for her and I began to think about how to best affect long term systemic change for those who feel they have no voice.
The clients I worked with were in need of emergency loans to cover basic living and medical expenses. Many of my clients were Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries who were reentering or preparing to reenter the workforce and were in need of job training and financial counseling. Nearly all of my clients lacked the basic financial literacy that resulted in their inability to manage the monies that they did have. I worked with them to develop a budget that would enable them to track monthly living expenses and to pay back the zero-interest loan.
I once read a quote that resonated deeply with me by Hubert Humphrey. He stated “It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” My own life has not been subject to the same levels of adversity as my AmeriCorps clients. Due to the extraordinary love and support of my family, I have enjoyed many opportunities and advantages that have allowed me to become the man that I am today. My parents made sure that I always attended the best schools possible, worked hard at everything I did, and emphasized the importance of a college degree. However, I am very aware that many people are not so fortunate and are pushed to the lower margins of society every day in this world. I have traveled extensively through the United States, Asia, and South America. I am now living in China, and having lived in three different countries; the United States, Chile, and China, which have three very different forms of governance, I have seen how a government and government policy can affect the lives of individual citizens.
As a graduate of (school x), I would have access to opportunities and career paths that would allow me to continue the type of work that I began during my year in AmeriCorps and to perhaps help build a government that embodies the moral vision of the one suggested by Hubert Humphrey.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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